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Helping Homegrown Bruins

Four students of various ethnicities sit on a brick sidewalk beneath a frieze. They are exhanging ideas while holding notebooks and a laptop.
Gifts to support scholarships can help students of all socioeconomic backgrounds attend UCLA.

UCLA attracts top students from all over the world — and from right in the university’s backyard. One couple is eager to provide support for Angelenos with their sights on UCLA.  

Sean Fahey and Robin Luce Fahey ’86 gave $750,000, matched by $375,000 from the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match Initiative, to create a $1.125 million scholarship fund for Los Angeles County high school students entering UCLA. The new scholarship will help students from all socioeconomic backgrounds attend UCLA and broaden their horizons by helping prevent future graduates from starting careers in significant debt.

Meaningful Motivation

For the Faheys, gratitude is key to giving back. In addition to Robin being a UCLA alumna, Sean received financial support that enabled him to attend Duke University, where the couple established their first scholarship. Both recognize that their access to quality education was influential in their lives, and they are eager to share the benefits with UCLA students.

Moreover, 2020 has brought new urgency to the couple’s philanthropy. Long aware of educational disparities, the Faheys have been struck by the unequal effects of COVID-19 and uprisings for racial justice. For students coming from traditionally underrepresented and underresourced groups or suffering hardships due to the pandemic, the Faheys know financial needs are growing.

“Students, schools, and society have never needed more help than they do today — it’s really an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ year,” Sean Fahey says. “If we can help one student who is qualified enough to get into UCLA but can’t afford to go, it’s the least we can do. This is a time when we all have to be selfless.”

Keeping Angelenos in the City of Angels

Open to all L.A. high school students, the new scholarship will give preference to students from Santa Monica-based Crossroads School, which provides a foundation not only in academic knowledge but also in community engagement. Experiencing Crossroads through their children’s attendance, the Faheys were inspired to support students who stand for equity and social justice yet face financial needs.

“Crossroads is lucky to have Sean and Robin in our parent community. They are deeply committed to the cause of accessibility in education, as evidenced by the generous scholarship fund that they have established at UCLA,” says Bob Riddle, head of the school. “We are grateful that this fund can allow talented Crossroads students who could not otherwise afford it to achieve their higher education goals at one of the most prestigious research universities in the world.”

Whether recipients come from Crossroads or other schools, the Faheys hope their scholarship will enable local students to stay in L.A. Many top students leave the city and often the state to attend elite private institutions, which boast bigger endowments enabling them to offer more financial aid. Given how much Bruins contribute to the community — and the fact that 80% of alumni stay in California — keeping students close to home has long-term benefits for the entire state.

A Public University for the Public Good

Support doesn’t stop with getting students to UCLA. As the number one public institution in the nation and the top-ranked in economic mobility among elite schools, UCLA offers a world-class education and countless programs and resources that set graduates up for success beyond campus. That capacity makes UCLA the perfect home for scholarships like the Faheys’.

“It’s unbelievable to see UCLA thriving even more today than when I attended, from the growth of campus to the achievements of its students and faculty,” says Robin Luce Fahey. “We are blessed to be able to come full circle and help the best public university in the world help the best students thrive, too.”

To learn more, contact

Brittany Schoof310-612-2085

Published November 2020

Four students--one African American woman with braids, two Latino men with short hair, and an Asian American woman with long hair--walk on campus.

A new scholarship fund seeks to address inequality and reduce college debt.

More Stories: Equity, diversity and inclusion, Students, Students & campus, UCLA & community